CREATIVE HUBS: LOS CABOS

Once the domain of young American spring-breakers, Los Cabos has garnered itself a serious party reputation – a reputation it’s quickly shaking off. The Los Cabos area (which is made up of two towns, Cabos San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo) has seen a steady stream of new design hotels and bars opening – and lately, it’s been out with the cheap and tacky and in with the chic and trendy. Its cultural scene is burgeoning with art walks and design stores, along with and the newly introduced Cabo San Lucas Film Festival, which is gaining traction every year.

Los Cabos – via RIU.com
Los Cabos – via RIU.com

Of course, it’s not just design and culture: there’s Los Cabos’ unrivalled beauty, too. Here is where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean and its views are nigh on unbeatable. Add that to the fact that it’s a short hop by plane from LA, and welcome to Hollywood’s new playground…


WHERE TO STAY

Drift San Jose

Drift San Jose – via Pinterest
Drift San Jose – via Pinterest

If you add one place to your 2018 must-stay list, make it Drift San Jose: it’s a design hotel that’s got it all. It sits right in the centre of San José del Cabo and, after years in the making, opened its doors in the summer of 2017. The 600-square-metre space is split over two storeys, and is all outdoor and indoor living (its bedrooms come with huge floor-to-ceiling industrial metal windows). Design-wise, there’s poured concrete, white-washed walls, and lush, green succulents. Shared hangout spaces include a palm-filled courtyard with a super-cool, mezcal tasting bar and a brilliant food truck for dishes like Smoked Marlin Baked Macaroni and Cilantro Sea Bass Sausages on Potatoes. Don’t miss the roof terrace for yoga and the hammock tower for lounging – it’s got the best views.

Drift San Jose – via Booking.com
Drift San Jose – via Booking.com

Hotel El Ganzo

El Ganzo – via Luxury Accommodations
El Ganzo – via Luxury Accommodations

Another hotel that scores highly on the creative front is Hotel EL Ganzo. They pride themselves on ‘creativity, originality and service’ above anything else. There’s 70 guest rooms, each equipped with an iPad, 400-thread-count linens on the beds, and full-sized organic toiletries. Organic products continue into the luxury spa (agave scrub and mezcal massage lotion to name but a few), and there’s a regularly changing calendar of great musicians like Atlas Genius and jazz maestro Stephane Wrembel.

King guest room at El Ganzo – via The Points Guy
King guest room at El Ganzo – via The Points Guy

The Cape: A Thompson Hotel

The Cape – via Booking.com
The Cape – via Booking.com

On the mega hotel front, The Cape: A Thomson hotel is one of the latest to join the ranks in Los Cabos. This place is a mean feat of architecture (it’s got a whopping 161 rooms) that looks out on to sea and over Mexico’s famous El Arco, an arch-shaped rock. Plump for one of the six restaurants, rooftop bar, or just settle into your room – each comes with its own bottle of welcome tequila. A nice touch.

The Cape – via Booking.com

Nobu Hotel

Nobu Hotel room – via Luxury Living International
Nobu Hotel room – via Luxury Living International

Nobu Matsuhisa is on fire at the moment, having opened a string of hotels from Malibu to Manila over the past few years at a rate of knots. The venture is the brand’s first foray into Mexico, and is set to be a ‘world-class waterfront experience’ right on the beachfront on Cabo San Lucas. It’ll have 200 bedrooms, a luxury spa, and, of course, a signature high-quality Nobu restaurant.

Nobu Hotel, Los Cabos – via Los Cabos Guide
Nobu Hotel, Los Cabos – via Los Cabos Guide

Also debuting in 2018 in Los Cabos will be a Four Seasons, Hard Rock Hotel and a Ritz-Carlton Reserve…


WHAT TO SEE 

Gallery District San Jose del Cabo

Galeria de Ida Victoria in the Gallery District San Jose del Cabo
Galeria de Ida Victoria in the Gallery District San Jose del Cabo

Los Cabos’ culture scene is booming big time, and there’s plenty of new artists showing their work. Take a trip to San Jose del Cabo’s gallery district – it’s got 14 galleries, all located within close proximity to each other, including Casa Dahlia Gallery for local fine artists, paintings and sculptures, along with Galeria de Ida Victoria for more contemporary art. Mata Ortiz is the place to go for pottery – every Thursday from November to June from 5-9pm, there’s an art walk held to delve deeper into the soul of the area’s creative scene.

Drift San Jose Design Shop

It’s not just eating, drinking and sleeping at the Drift San Jose: you can shop, too. The in-house design shop features independent Mexican designers, which include the likes of Bamboocycles (their hardwearing bikes are actually made from bamboo); Colorindio for great local textiles; and Lørdag & Søndag for the best bags.

Backpack Teotitlán – #proyectocatapulta @diseniamx

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Baja Brewing Co.

Baja Brewing Company – courtesy of Baja Brewing Company
Baja Brewing Company – courtesy of Baja Brewing Company

Mexico has a strong beer scene – tap into the area’s boozy offerings at the Baja Brewing Co. They bottled their first Baja beer in 2010 and hosted their first Cabo Beer Fest in 2014. Try out their goods: they’ve got Blonde, Black, Raspberry and Amber Ale, Mexican IPA and Oatmeal Stout. If you can’t make the brewery itself, they’ve got cantinas at the Cabo Villas Rooftop and the Cabo Marina.


WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK 

ACRE

Acre –via Elena Damy
Acre –via Elena Damy

ACRE is not just an acre – it’s actually a sizeable, 25-acre plot of land near San Jose del Cabo, featuring a trendy restaurant and cocktail bar. This place is all about sustainability to the max – even the walls and shelters are made from compressed earth from the site and local palo de arco trees. And it’s not just the interiors that are authentic: farm-to-fork is certainly implemented here, with everything from scallop ceviche to Baja-style fish tacos. They’re also working on adding some accommodation in the form of tree houses to their offerings.

ACRE Baja Fish Tacos – via Everyday Pursuits

Flora Farms

Flora Farms – via Cabo Villas
Flora Farms – via Cabo Villas

Proffering a similar concept, Flora Farms sits in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in San Jose del Cabo, covering ten acres. The farm is right off the beaten track, but is well worth finding. The cooking is completely organic, using fresh produce from the farm. It’s got an outdoor bar, a beer garden, and they regularly host live music.

Homemade Burrata. 📷 @socivilized

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El Marinero Borracho Playita

El Marinero Borracho Playita – via Everplaces
El Marinero Borracho Playita – via Everplaces

Translating as ‘the drunken sailor’, El Marinero Borracho Playita is a Los Cabos favourite, promising sea, music, food, drinks and art. The dishes have Vietnamese and Costa Rican influence, and the cocktails are heady. Get serenaded with live music, eat the freshest ceviche, and sink some tamarind margaritas.

El Wine Shop

El Wine Shop –  photo by Joe Kalionzes (via TripAdvisor)
El Wine Shop – photo by Joe Kalionzes (via TripAdvisor)

In San Jose del Cabo, El Wine Shop doesn’t just do what it says on the tin: it also serves some of the best coffee in town. Stop in to check out the wooden-heavy design; buy a bottle of Mexican wine; and get an espresso pick-me-up at the same time.

The Container Bar

Healthy offerings at The Container Bar – via Facebook
Healthy offerings at The Container Bar – via Facebook

The marina area in San Jose del Cabo is undergoing a transformation, with new places sprouting up all over the place. Check out the Container Restaurant, which is literally housed in a green shipping container. You can watch the comings-and-goings of the marina as you tuck into tuna and mango ceviche and sip coconut mojitos.

#thecontainerbar #marinapuertoloscabos #cabo #sanjosedelcabo #cabosanlucas #loscabos #bajasur

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Sara D'Souza

Sara d’Souza is a travel content strategist on the MSN specials team, contributing editor to the Travel Edit and travel writer for ELLE, ELLEuk.com, Red Online, Sunday Times Travel, MSN Travel and Upward Curve inflight magazine, Visit London, Jetsetter and Virgin.